Learning from failure

Frustrated by Failure

Too often fear keeps us from identifying and going after our goals. We are afraid that we won’t be able to have the life that we want, so why bother dreaming. Or we get stuck in the dreaming/planning stage of our life without ever putting into action our plans to achieve our dreams. Both are the products of fear of failure. What would happen if we saw failure not as something that prevents us from accomplishing our dreams, but rather an essential part of the process? How might eradicating the fear of failure free you up to fully pursue and realize your dreams?

What gets labeled as “failure” is actually useful information that hold the keys to our success. Trial and error is an essential part of science and of life. All practicing scientists implement this system because they know that they can never accomplish the goal (e.g. cure for a disease) without trying out what is currently their “best educated guess” (hypothesis). Even if the experiment proves the scientist’s hypothesis wrong (which happens in most research), the experiment is not a “failure”. It has given the researcher and other researchers interested in this problem, valuable information to help them better understand and address the problem. Every scientific breakthrough and piece of technology that we have is the result of innumerable “failures”.



I am an observer of my own life.

So today take on the identity of a scientist studying your own life. Observe the activity and outcomes of your life without judgement. What yesterday you may have labeled as a “failure” today is simply “data”. Use that data to readjust your activity until you reach your goal.

If your goal is to stop eating fast food and you find yourself chomping on a Big Mac, don’t judge yourself and say you have failed. This is valuable “data”.  Did you arrive at McDonald’s because you were working late and didn’t prepare a meal? Did you go there with friends who don’t share your goal of avoiding fast food? Are you there because you only have $5 in your budget for lunch and can’t afford a salad at Panera? Each situation provides a different understanding of the problem and the potential solution. By observing you behavior without judgement you are better able to learn from your “failures” and plan for your success.

Good luck to all you future scientists, I look forward to seeing what you will accomplish through your method of observation, evaluation, and action. Fail your way to success!


3 responses to “Learning from failure

  • irasiev

    I immediately liked what you said, “what if your failures are an essential process to success”; its making me think about my own life and how I want to succeed but am currently stopped in my tracks since I am afraid that if I fail again it will hurt too much….whats interesting is that I am a researcher and teach science as part of my job. I will move forward and risk the failure with the hope that I succeed even more. Thanks

  • Parris Moore

    What a great way to re-vision your efforts, it becomes all positive. Makes it worth the attempt to keep trying knowing that no matter what happens your trials are helping you towards your goal.
    I will try to keep this in mind as I fail forward.

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